April 15, 2014, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego – Marines stay combat efficient no matter what their military occupational specialty may be in the Corps.
Depot Marines attended a basic machine gunners course at the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer aboard the depot, March 24 to 27.
The course was designed to give a basic idea of how to break down the M240B machine gun, the functions of the weapon and how to operate it.
“It’s important that other MOSs are exposed to this because the chances of them being in this situation are high,” said Gunnery Sgt. Andy C. Pedilla, service company gunnery sergeant, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion. “Every Marine is expected to be combat efficient.”
Passing on knowledge and skill sets to other Marines is important, explained Pedilla, an Orange County, Calif. native. Marines should always be improving their war fighting skills because if a Marine is in a combat situation, he should always know how to perform the tasks to stay in the fight with his fellow Marines.
The M240B is one of the Corps backbone weapons for ground units. It is a belt-fed, air-cooled, gas-operated, fully automatic machine gun that provides Marines with a continuous and high rate of fire to engage long-range targets. It is a heavier automatic weapon than the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon machine gun but provides a faster rate of fire and a longer effective range. Typically, the tripod is employed when the weapon is to be used for defensive situations, or when precise fire is needed in support of maneuver units. The bipod is always attached and is suitable for use while patrolling.
The Marines were able to learn and use the weapon utilizing the ISMT on the depot.
The ISMT is designed as a three dimensional simulation that helps improve marksmanship skills. The system gave simulated situations and instructions on when to engage and start firing the fully automatic M240B, utilizing combat marksmanship skills and weapons employment.
Marines were taught the basics of preparing and firing the weapon for the course. When first mounting behind the weapon, a functions check was required followed by loading simulated rounds into the M240B. Once the weapon was loaded, a simulated scenario appeared on the three dimensional screen.
Depot Marines left the course confident in their abilities to operate the M240B in an effective and efficient manner. Though they may not be directly assigned to using one, in a combat situation, having the knowledge could be the difference that turns the tide of the fight.
“If Marines are engaged into a fire fight, everyone should have the knowledge to get behind the M240B and put rounds down range,” said Pfc. Mark E. Baxter II, recruit ministration branch unit diary, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion. “Combat classes are important for all Marines to take in order for us to stay ready to fight.”